Women in the Bible Who Understood Waiting

waiting part 2A few weeks ago I shared a piece that some of you could relate to called: When Waiting Hurts, Hope Heals. My “waiting” right now is a desire for another baby, and as many of you know, waiting can be a piercing journey.

God’s word is especially encouraging to me in the uncertain moments of life. Over the past few weeks I have been reading stories of women in the Bible who knew a thing or two about waiting for a child. I was surprised to find so many stories of women who wrestled with infertility. Sometimes this topic is thought of as a modern day issue, when in actuality it’s something women and couples have been dealing with since the beginning. While there are several women in the Bible who faced this struggle, three women stood out to me the most. Their stories were comforting to me and maybe they will comfort you as well…

Sarah~

Photo Source: lastdayscalendar.tripod.com

Source: lastdayscalendar.tripod.com

Sarah was a God fearing woman who was faithful to her husband Abraham. God promised Abraham that he would be the father of a great nation. After many years of not being able to conceive, Sarah was understandably discouraged and doubted the covenant God made with her husband. So Abraham and Sarah decided to work things out in their own way. Sarah convinced Abraham to sleep with her faithful maidservant, Hagar, thinking that maybe they could bear a child through her. This was considered an acceptable practice in ancient Israel. Abraham and Hagar conceived a child— a son named Ishmael.

Even though Abraham and Sarah chose a route of their own, God remained faithful to His promise. Sometime after Ishmael’s birth, God once again spoke with Abraham, this time specifically telling him that Sarah would get pregnant with a son and she would become the mother of the nations. Sarah laughed when she heard this news because she was well beyond her child bearing years. But just as promised, she became pregnant at age 90 and gave birth to a son named Isaac.

Sarah’s story offers hope to anyone who might be struggling with doubt in the midst of waiting for a child. Sarah was a beautiful woman inside and out and she loved the Lord, but she was also human. She had a moment of doubting God’s faithfulness, but in the end she stood firm in her faith.  God was gracious and blessed her and Abraham with their very own child. And their son wasn’t just any child—Isaac was a very significant child. God chose to continue His covenant through Isaac (and not Ishmael) and this was the bloodline through which Jesus would eventually be born from.

Hannah~

Source: chruchofgodcarmichael.org

Hannah was another God fearing woman who desperately desired to be a mom. But like Sarah, she struggled with infertility. In ancient Israel, barrenness was a source of humiliation and shame, so this must have caused Hannah great distress. She was married to Elkanah, and he had a second wife who was able to bear children. This second wife taunted Hannah—making matters more agonizing then they already were.

Hannah exhibited an unwavering faith and reverence to the Lord in the midst of her turmoil. She could have turned her back on God and gotten angry, but she didn’t allow her grief to get the best of her. Instead, she brought her broken heart before the Lord and prayed fervently for many years.

After years of lifting up heartfelt cries to the Lord, God showered her with grace and with the answer she was hoping for. She became pregnant with a son named Samuel, who also wasn’t just any child, but a very significant child in history. Samuel grew up to become the last of Israel’s judges, the first of Israel’s major prophets, and he anointed the first two kings of Israel, King Saul and King David. Furthermore, Hannah bore several more children after Samuel.

Hannah’s story is a source of comfort to anyone who might be waiting for a first child or for more children. She went from barren to blessed, giving birth to 6 children total. Hannah was real with her feelings—she cried and she prayed, she cried and she prayed, she cried and she prayed…until one day God blessed with the gift of being pregnant. She faithfully waited upon the Lord for His timing; she committed herself to prayer; she remained loyal to God and to her husband—and eventually her heart’s desire was fulfilled.

Elizabeth~

Source: bible-people.info

Elizabeth had a strong faith in the Lord and she was married to Zechariah. Both Elizabeth and Zechariah were considered holy and righteous in the sight of God. Yet they found themselves childless in their old age. As mentioned earlier, barrenness was considered disgraceful in ancient times so this must have been very difficult for Elizabeth to endure.

One day the angel Gabriel visited Zechariah and told him that Elizabeth would become pregnant with a son. Zechariah found himself in a state of disbelief and became mute. This couple was well past child-bearing age, so how could this be? As foretold, Elizabeth became pregnant in her old age and gave birth to a son named John. Once again, John wasn’t just any child, but a child who grew up to play an incredibly significant role in history. He became John the Baptist, the prophet who foretold the coming of the Messiah.

Elizabeth’s story is one that reminds us that God can do miracles. Both Zechariah and Elizabeth remained faithful to God throughout their lives, and through God’s mighty power, they conceived a child in their old age. Elizabeth gave God the glory, and while Zechariah didn’t believe the good news at first, he too praised God once their son entered into the world.

~~~~~~

Each woman’s story is a little different, but there are some striking similarities among these three women:

  • They were each God fearing women who loved and served the Lord.
  • They each remained loyal to their husbands.
  • They each gave God the glory for the children that they bore.
  • They each had firstborn sons who played significant roles in history.
  • They each are remembered as strong women of faith in the present day.

women waiting

These women understood the heartache and pain that comes from not being able to have a child. They endured the waiting and in the end, God exchanged their aching hearts for the desired gift of motherhood.

Each of these women bore children and became moms, but this isn’t the happy ending to everyone’s story. Some people end up with a houseful of children, and others cry themselves to sleep at night wondering why God is withholding children from them—and why this is…

I just don’t know.

What I do know is that only God Himself can see the big picture and our view is limited. In the midst of our waiting, God does not want us to beat up on ourselves thinking that He’s punishing us for something we must have done—that’s not the God I know.

Instead, God wants us to cling to Him and fix our eyes on Him—just like Sarah, Hannah and Elizabeth did. He wants us to trust Him over our fears. He wants us to keep praying even when it hurts. He wants us to persevere even when we feel like giving up.

Only God knows the details of the future and only He knows how things will turn out, but one thing is certain…

When our HOPE is in the Great I Am, The Alpha and The Omega, The Beginning and The End, The Father to the Fatherless, The Lamb Who was Slain, The Creator of the Universe, The Everlasting King, The Almighty God—then our waiting is never in vain.

He works all things together for the good of those who love Him. He intertwines our joys with our sorrows, our successes with our failures, and our disappointments with our triumphs. He creates good out of it ALL. He creates breathtaking beauty from dark ashes.

waiting

For those of us who have chosen to allow Jesus to reign in our hearts, we can be encouraged at all times—even in unknown seasons of waiting. We can rest assured that He will lead us to good things in His timing.

_____

hannah

Bible References

 Sarah’s Story (Genesis Chapters 15-18, Genesis 21:1-20)

 Hannah’s Story (1 Samuel Chapters 1 & 2)

 Elizabeth’s Story (Luke Chapter 1)

(C) 2014 Pocketful of Motherhood, All Rights Reserved.

When Waiting Hurts, Hope Heals

 

waitingLong before I got married a desire lived in me to someday be a mom. I often thought I would get married young and have lots of kids. My passion for kids came alive in me at a young age, and I spent several years of my life caring for and teaching young children, before having a child of my own.

My Husband and I got pregnant with our first child a year into our marriage and we were elated to say the least.  It just so worked out that I was able surprise my husband with the good news, on his birthday.  I’ll never forget the awestruck look on his face when I told him. We were both so grateful for this new life growing inside of me, not only because we to both wanted to be parents, but also because we knew just how special our baby was.

About a year before my Husband and I met, he was in a bad motorcycle accident and suffered a complete spinal cord injury, leaving him paralyzed, on top of a traumatic brain injury.  From what I am told, the fact that he is alive today and doing as well as he is—is a miracle in itself. We went into our marriage knowing that we would probably face some challenges with being able to conceive. I remember having those conversations even when we were in the dating phase of our relationship.

But we relied on our faith in God. And He calmed our fears and showered us with grace.

He blessed us with a son, our miracle Micah. And not a day goes by that I am not grateful for our joyful, curious, sweet, healthy bundle of all-boy energy.  He is gift not only to my husband and I, but to so many others as well.

The infamous question people have asked us since our son’s birth is, “So do you want to have more kids?”

And the answer has always been, “Yes.”

Our son is almost three years old, and as time ticks on, that has become a harder question for me to answer without pain welling up inside of me. For us, it’s not at all a question of if we want to have more kids. Our question looks more like, “What is God’s will for our little family? Will he make what seems like the impossible, possible for us again?”

My Husband and I long for our family to grow. We long for our son to have a sibling or siblings to play with. I long to have a little life growing inside of me again. But we haven’t been able to get pregnant again…yet.

I try to hold back the tears when my son asks me, “Mommy where’s my brother? Where’s my sister?” Sometimes I can’t find the words to say, but usually my response is,  “I hope he or she is coming soon sweetheart.”

Waiting hurts sometimes. And when it does, it can do one of two things: It can either make us grow bitter and discouraged, or it can allow us to grow closer to our source of all hope—Jesus.  

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There is strength in the Lord. The sort of strength that allows us to press on even when facing difficult circumstances; The sort of strength that  helps us keep trusting in God’s promises even though we don’t know the future; The sort of strength that can replace our fears and worries with a peace that passes all understanding.

If we allow the struggle of waiting to point us to Jesus, we might actually find something different than expected. Our struggles are an opportunity for us to grow closer to the One who wants to carry the burden of our heavy load. Our struggles are an opportunity for us to develop virtues like patience and trust, treasures that hold eternal value. Our struggles are an opportunity to become aware of our deeper longing and need for Jesus.  And our struggles can awaken us to the “secret” Paul talks about in Philippians.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. ~Philippians 4:12-13 (NIV)

The secret to being content in this life no matter what we are going through—is knowing that there is everlasting hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. The hope of Jesus sets us frees from the things we cannot free ourselves from. The hope of Jesus offers us the promise of better things to come, even though the present moment might be challenging.

It’s when we need hope the most, that hope heals us the most.

What we need, is not to know all the details of the future. What we need is the One who knows all the details of the future.  Because once we find Him, we can trust Him to lead the way. We can wait in anticipation that good things are ahead. We can wait in hope that God will work everything out for our good.

Whether you’re waiting for a first child, more children, a spouse to share life with, the return home of a loved one, an end to a challenging season…whatever your “waiting” is…know that when you bring your heart to Jesus, He will renew your strength and heal spaces in you that only He can.

Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning. ~Psalm 30:5 (NKJV)

The waiting hurts right now for me, some days more than others, but my strength is in the Lord. He is faithful, He is loving, and He is good all the time. Hope lives because of Jesus, and every morning is a choice for me to wake up and choose that hope over the things that want to weigh me down. And as I wait, I don’t take for granted the amazing child that I already do have. I will cherish the sweet moments I have with him. I will keep pouring into to his life the best that I can. And I will anticipate with hope, that one day he will get to be a big brother.

When waiting hurts, hope heals.

—–

hannah

 

 

 

(C) 2014 Pocketful of Motherhood, All Rights Reserved.